Want to know the real key to success? Persistence. Want to know why most people are living a mediocre life, having dropped their dreams into a tar pit many years ago? Lack of persistence.
Want to know how not to feel like a victim? Persistence. Want to know why many people feel trapped by past events? Lack of persistence.
When our family watched The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy several weeks ago, I learned several lessons from it. I talk about the first lesson here, the second lesson here. One of the most obvious lessons in the movie is that persistence brings reward.
Not persisting leads to failure, and in some cases the ripple effect of you giving up extends much farther than you can see, bringing negative circumstances to many other people.
Frodo did not ask for the task of destroying The One Ring. But he knows if he doesn’t, well, talk about the end of the world as we know it! He has to walk for days and days, often over unfriendly landscapes; without enough to eat; watching his wizard friend die (or so he thinks); fighting off enemies; practically being killed by a giant spider, then the Orcs; nearly being strangled by Smeagol.
No, he didn’t ask for any of that. How often do you hear yourself saying, “I didn’t ask for this!” What do you do when tragedy strikes, you experience trauma, or life simply isn’t going anywhere near the way you planned? Sit down and cry about how life isn’t fair, and let your circumstances pull you along farther and farther into misery? Tell everybody about your victimhood?
What would have happened if Frodo had sat down and said, “This is impossible. I’m too tired. We’ll never get there. Life sucks, and then you die.”
All of his family and neighbors in the Shire would probably eventually have been killed, that’s what! Not to mention the certain demise of men and dwarves (somehow I think the elves would have been able to escape).
You think that your giving up and deciding to be a victim, or your giving up and deciding to live with and in miserable circumstances, is only hurting you. Think again. Every action of every other human being has a ripple effect. The ripple may not go very far, affecting only other people in the near vicinity, but more often than we think, the ripples go much further – sometimes, to the other side of the world.
The good news is, the same thing happens when you persist through trials and come out on the other side victorious. Your victory, too, has a ripple effect, making a positive difference in other people’s lives. If you’ve seen the movies, you know what happened as a result of The Ring finally being destroyed. Although many lives had already been lost, many, many more were saved.
Let’s say I’m wrong. Let’s say that whether or not you persist through trials doesn’t affect anyone but you. Fine.
So, you decide not to persist. You give up. You do not work to change your circumstances. You do not work to rise above traumatic events that have left scars (sometimes deep scars, I know from personal experience), choosing instead to remain a victim. Is this the kind of life you really want?
What if, instead, you persisted? You fought and struggled and pushed your way into healing, into your dream life, into happiness, into fulfillment, into joy? Imagine right now what your life would look like if you choose to persist instead of to give up. Would the reward be worth it?
If you say no, I’m done talking to you. You’ve already dug your own grave and have one foot in it.
If, however, you catch a vision and get excited about it, let’s be friends. You’re the kind of person I want – no, probably need – in my life.
Because I’ll take all the persistence ripples I can get, thank you very much.